President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has promised that he will end fuel subsidies, fix infrastructure problems and reform the oil and gas sector in order to attract new investments.
Buhari, who was represented by the former Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, made the promises on Tuesday during a Lagos Business School breakfast meeting.
Fayemi unveiled Buhari’s economic policies at the meeting and disclosed Buhari’s intentions to run a very lean government, which would involve rationalizing overlapping and redundant ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, in line with the Steve Oronsaye presidential committee report.
The President-elect disclosed that there would be no real action until October, partly because the 2015 budget was President Jonathan’s and may be fully approved in April.
“A very lean government is the focus, largely in line with the Steve Oronsaye presidential committee report. This report was available to the Jonathan government, but the will to implement it was absent.”
Buhari noted that the All Progressives Congress, APC, would seek “to align the electoral and fiscal calendars to avoid this type of problem in future”.
He added that his administration’s major agendas would anchor on security, fighting corruption and unemployment.
“We believe that corruption has a very strong negative link to both security and unemployment.”
He pledged that a cabinet would be announced within one week of inauguration, adding that “Anyone with a whiff of corruption or any kind of taint will not be in the cabinet.”
Our manifesto will reflect zero tolerance for corruption,” he said.
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Buhari stated that the APC “is not a conclave of cardinals, as it includes the good, the bad and the ugly,” noting that in Nigeria, the bad and the ugly could be the biggest electoral assets, though the new government “will not interfere with law enforcement agencies or the judiciary even if APC members are involved in corrupt practices”.
He promised that his government would continue with some of the successful programmes in the Jonathan led administration.
“For example, agriculture, though there would be a stronger collaboration between the federal and state governments,” he said.
Buhari also revealed his plan to consolidate anti-corruption agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, among others.
According to him, rather than strengthen key anti-corruption agencies like EFCC, ICPC and SFI, they are likely to be consolidated into a single entity, which would be made more effective.
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“We believe the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is getting over-burdened by developmental finance issues at the expense of its core objectives; this will be changed,” he said.
He noted that the subsidy on petroleum products would certainly go and the industry would be reformed as a matter of priority in order to attract new investments.
“While power reform has been commendable and will continue, the approach will change,” Buhari said.
He pointed out that power transmission would be deregulated, regionalized and privatized in order “to break down centralized transmission, while the issues of gas supply to Gencos will be addressed.
“But the new government believes that Discos are the biggest bottlenecks presently.
“The government plans to add on 4,000 MW of power every year and expect that output will reach a minimum of 12,000 MW at the end of his tenure.”
“The government will allow market forces to prevail, including in the foreign exchange regime,” he said.
Buhari debunked the alleged speculation that he would use an arbitrary order to fix the foreign exchange, adding that the government would ardently seek to protect the more economically vulnerable segments of the society
He stressed that there would be a tightening of the tax noose; although there would be no tax increment.
“The Federal Internal Revenue Service, FIRS, will be strengthened and the LASG IGR template will be adopted at the national level,” he stated.
Buhari accepted that the country’s infrastructure gap requires huge capital expenditure, which the government does not have, but pledged to develop a master plan for infrastructure development.